BAL 2024: Meet the four teams competing in the inaugural Kalahari Conference

BAL 2024: Meet the four teams competing in the inaugural Kalahari Conference

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) returns for a fourth consecutive season, but this time with some changes as a new conference has been added in a country.

The inaugural Kalahari Conference, which will see the BAL played in South Africa for the first time ever, has been added to the Nile and Sahara Conferences, ensuring that the 12 participating teams will be split across the three zones.

The SunBet Arena in Pretoria, South Africa, will be the playing ground for the newly-added conference, which consists of four teams: the Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), Petro de Luanda (Angola), FUS de Rabat (Morocco), and Dynamo BBC (Burundi).

With the Kalahari Conference, which will be played from Saturday, March 9, to Sunday, March 17, set to kick off BAL season four, Afrosport breaks down each of the four teams, their past records and how they qualified for this season’s tournament.

Cape Town Tigers (South Africa)

Coach: Florsheim Ngwenya

Best BAL performance: Quarter-finals (2022, 2023)

Cape Town Tigers are a South African basketball team, currently the champions of the South African Basketball National Club Championship and the Basketball National League.

The Tigers, have qualified to the BAL twice in 2022 and 2023, and the 2024 edition will be their fourth time participating in Africa’s premier basketball tournament.

The South African champions have gotten to the quarter-final in their two previous BAL seasons: in their first outing in 2022, they lost to eventual winners US Monastir of Tunisia, while in the third edition in 2023, they were beaten by Mali’s Stade Malien.

The Cape Town Tigers qualified for this season’s tournament as one of the six teams from the “Road to BAL” qualifying tournament. They enjoyed a perfect Elite 16 campaign in the Road to BAL, finishing with a 5-0 win-loss record as they beat all the teams on their way to emerge as the East Division winner for a second straight time.

The Tigers saw off Dynamo BBC (Burundi), Pazi Basketball Club (Tanzania), and NBA Academy Africa in the Group Phase, before overcoming COSPN (Madagascar) in the semi-finals, and City Oilers of Uganda in the final.

Petro de Luanda (Angola)

Coach: Jose Neto

Best BAL performance: Runners-up (2022)

The 2022 BAL runners-up are the only team in the Kalahari Conference to have qualified without going through the qualifying tournament, making the conference the only one with three teams from the Road to BAL.

Petro de Luanda are perennial participants of the BAL, finishing in third place in the inaugural season, second place the following year and fourth place last season.

They qualified as the winners of the Angolan Basketball League, a tournament they have won four times consecutively.

FUS de Rabat (Morocco)

Coach: Said El Bouzidi

Best BAL performance: Debut (2024)

The Moroccan team will be making their debut in the BAL this season having qualified through the Road to BAL. They become the second Moroccan side – since AS Salé – to qualify to the BAL.

FUS Rabat finished second in the West Division’s Elite 16 campaign after losing to Bangui Sporting Club (Central African Republic) in the final, a team they had previously beaten in the Group Phase.

They finished with a 3-2 record in the Elite 16, seeing off ABC Fighters (Cote d’Ivoire) and Bangui Sporting Club in the Group Phase, where they lost to SLAC (Guinea). They beat FAP of Cameroon in the semifinals before eventually losing the final.

Dynamo BBC (Burundi)

Coach: Olivier Ndayiragije

Best BAL performance: Debut (2024)

Dynamo were provided the opportunity to participate in the Elite 16 tournament in the Road to BAL despite finishing second in Group C during the Group Phase. They were awarded a wild card by FIBA Africa to complete the East Division’s Elite 16 teams.

The Burundian champions, who finished the preliminary group phase with a 2-1 record never looked back as they booked their berth in the BAL season four, picking up the last slot after beating COSPN 79-78 in an evenly-contested third place match in the East Division to become the first Burundian team to qualify to the BAL.

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